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An unmarked HGV has helped Wiltshire Police to detect bad driving on the strategic road networks of Wiltshire and Swindon over the past two weeks.The HGV was loaned to Wiltshire Police by Highways England. Roads Policing officers in the HGV work as a team with the passenger monitoring drivers around them as they travel along the motorway. The elevated position gives a great advantage and allows for video evidence to be collected.Conventional Police vehicles are then called in to stop vehicles found committing offences.During the two weeks the following examples have been observed of drivers not being in proper control of their vehicle:
  • a driver steering a lorry with his elbows and making a coffee
  • a driving eating his pot noodle
  • 2 drivers caught writing messages on paper resting on their steering wheels
  • A driver reading messages on his watch which caused him to end up on the hard shoulder.
Sgt Will Ayres, from the Road Policing Unit, said: “The operation has been running successfully across the country since 2014.  By using an unmarked truck we can check all drivers are adhering to the rules of the road and not doing anything that could distract them or put other road users in danger. This operation also ties in with the NPCC national seatbelt campaign that is currently running and the HGV was a brilliant platform to use to detect occupants committing offences.”

“We have seen some shocking behaviour and speeds. Two drivers were travelling at 110mph and 120mph and unbelievably four cars had stopped on the hard shoulder so the occupants could decide which beach they should go to. The former will be attending court and the latter were issued with fixed penalty notices.”

Throughout the operation the majority of drivers were found to be adhering to the rules of the road yet there was a surprisingly large proportion that were committing offences that put both themselves and other road users at risk. Some of the offences detected include:

  • No Seatbelt – 18
  • Not in proper control – 5
  • No insurance – 1
  • Driving a light good vehicle whilst disqualified – 1
  • Overweight – 1
  • Insecure load - 1
  • Stopping on hard shoulder – 4
  • Using a mobile phone – 8
Jerry Herbert, Deputy Police and Crime Commission for Wiltshire and Swindon said: “Operation Tramline is another way that Wiltshire Police works in partnership to keep our roads safe. The HGV loaned by Highways England has helped us to monitor instances of bad driving that could otherwise have gone undetected and cost lives.”

“It amazes me that after 37 years of mandatory use of seatbelts 18 people neglect to wear them. According to THINK! You are twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seatbelt. It is one of the Fatal Four causes of death on our roads, along with drink/drug driving, inappropriate speed and using a mobile phone when driving. All are easy to avoid by staying inside the speed limit, don’t make calls on your phone, never drink alcohol or take drugs when driving and always wear your seatbelt. Seat belts save lives.” 

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